19 Feb 2009

Hairy Maclary

It's hard to imagine that an Aussie kid since the '80's could have grown up without Hairy Maclary. He might not be Australian, but we Aussies are very good at subsuming everything Kiwi under our own Australian mantle, much the same way that America does to Canada.

Anyway, back to the irrepressible Skye terrier. The books bearing his name deserve their title of classics. They're also wonderful living books for the ankle-biters. New Zealand author Lynley Dodds doesn't speak down to children. She uses words like bumptious, bellicose, boisterous, cantankerous, pilfered, pillaged, and cacophony...for two year olds!! What's more, the kids understand them because they're introduced in context. They're fun words that sound interesting when spoken out loud. Often they're onomatopoeic - they sound like the action they described - cacophony, for example.

Kids love Hairy and his animal friends including Schnitzel von Krumm, the dachshund, and Scarface Claw the maniacal cat. You don't have to be antipodean to enjoy them either. For those of you overseas, take a look at the YouTube video of the first Hairy Maclary book, above. I guarantee that your toddler'll be back for more!!

Try reading them out loud - fast!

(P.S. For those of you who aren't fluent in 'New Zealandish', a dairy is a corner shop - not a milking shed or a dairy farm...)


  1. The boys enjoyed "Hairy Maclary" so much we will be heading to the library to see if we can get any of Lynley Dodds' books. I have the feeling that they will be every bit as much fun to read aloud as to listen to.

    Mmmm...figs. You've reminded me of my favorite sour dough pizza known as "Dolce Vita" - tomato sauce, wilted spinach, fresh mozzarella, California figs, gorgonzola, prosciutto and parmesan topped with infused rosemary oil.

  2. Oh yes, Jeanne, I must reclaim Hairy Maclary as a New Zealand book, along with Pavalova, our favourite Kiwi dessert..... Our Hairy Maclary books are much loved, in fact they are all falling apart!!


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...